A rolling baby during sleep time can feel super scary to a mama that’s been repeatedly told her baby needs to sleep on their back to lower the risk of SIDS, but never fear! Here are five things you need to know once your baby starts rolling:
#1 – Don’t be quick to stop swaddling.
Just because your baby has rolled a few times during his wake time, does not mean you need to immediately get him out of the swaddle. Many times, babies will roll or begin to roll during wake times, but once they’re swaddled in their crib or bassinet, they do not roll. So, don’t feel like it’s an emergency that you get your baby out of the swaddle the first couple of times this happens, especially if he is younger than 3-4 months and still has a startle reflex.
#2 – This is completely normal.
This is a normal part of development! While it can feel scary that your baby can actually move around the crib, it is SO darn good for him and should make sleep time easier! At this point, babies can get themselves into a comfortable position and go to sleep in a way that feels good to them. This is so helpful for independent sleep!
#3 – Baby needs time to adjust.
Running in to rescue your baby every time they roll to their tummy and start to fuss is only going to lengthen the learning curve. It’s better to help them get comfortable on their tummy (pat, shush, rub their backs, etc.) and for them to learn to fall asleep that way, rather than to constantly be rolling them back over onto their backs. Initially, it’s going to feel very weird for your baby to be on their stomach, because they’re not used to sleeping this way. Over time, and as you are there to help them, they’re going to learn that it actually feels great to sleep on their tummy; they will quickly get the hang of it as long as you are consistent.
#4 – Don’t intervene.
Don’t use anything that keeps them on their back any longer than necessary. This is one reason why I don’t love The Magic Merlin Sleep Suit. Once a baby can roll, we want them to be able to roll. Preventing them from doing that and learning the skill draws out the entire process. This is also a great time to get your baby transitioned into the crib if they are still in a bassinet. Once your baby learns to roll, they need the space to be able to do so. A bassinet is going to keep them from being able to roll safely, because it’s just too small of an area.
#5 – Babies LOVE tummy sleep.
Your baby will figure out that they love to tummy sleep, as it’s a much more natural position for them to sleep in than flat on their backs. Many times, they also find their fingers during this time as well, which can be super helpful for a baby to soothe themselves. You can help with this by guiding their hand to their mouths and encouraging them to use it to soothe.
I hope these 5 things help to calm your fears as your baby starts rolling. This new skill will impact sleep; expect that your baby may wake up multiple times per night for a few nights. They may need support, or they may go back to sleep on their own. Remember to always pause before rushing in! The more consistent you can be with helping them to become proficient and get used to the feeling of rolling back and forth, the quicker you’re going to get through this developmental period.
Don’t forget to work on rolling during the day! The more practice they get, the quicker they will get through this transition. If you’re continuing to struggle during this time, reach out to me! I’d love to help you as your baby learns this new skill.